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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

‘Profiteering’: Sonia Gandhi to PM Modi on vaccine pricing

The Congress President said the Centre has “abdicated its responsibility of providing free vaccines to people between 18 and 45”.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 23, 2021 5:40:49 am
Congress President Sonia Gandhi. (File Photo)

Echoing the concerns expressed by some state governments over the differential pricing announced by the Serum Institute of India (SII) for its vaccine Wednesday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking how the government could permit such “brazen profiteering” from people’s misery.

She also asked the Prime Minister to re-examine the new vaccination policy saying it “implies that the Government of India has abdicated its responsibility to provide free vaccination for citizens between the age group of 18 to 45 years.”

“I write to convey the deep concern and sense of anguish that the new Covid-19 vaccination policy has caused amongst the people. It is surprising that despite the harsh lessons of last year and the pain inflicted on our citizens, the Government continues to follow an arbitrary and discriminatory policy, which promises to exacerbate existing challenges,” she said.

As a consequence of the policy, she pointed out SII has announced a differential pricing mechanism.

“This means that citizens will be compelled to pay these high rates to be vaccinated. This will also bleed the finances of State Governments…This begs the question, how can the same vaccine manufactured by the same company have three different prices?,” she added.

“In these unprecedented times, how can the Government of India permit such brazen profiteering from people’s misery? At a time when medical resources are scarce, hospital beds are unavailable, oxygen supply and availability of essential medicine is dwindling rapidly, why is your Government allowing a policy that reeks of such insensitivity?”

“… I would urge you to intervene immediately and reverse this ill-considered decision. The nation’s goal must be to ensure that everyone over 18 years is given the vaccine, regardless of their economic circumstances,” the Congress president wrote.

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